Medicine tips that carers should know

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Where are drugs kept?

You should know where medicines are kept and make sure they are all in one place. If any need to be kept in the fridge, you should know this too. You should understand how the person receives replacement medicines and who is responsible, so you can contact them if you have concerns.

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What is your role?

You need to know what type of support is required. It may be reminding a person or asking if they have taken their pills. It could be re-ordering medicines, collecting prescriptions or filling compliance aids, all of which are assisting a person who is managing their own medicines.

If you decide what medicines are taken, or actually give the person their pills/injections, this is administration. The implications for organisations in the safe handling of medication at each of these levels are different. More details can be found here:

When/how should drugs be taken?

Medicines are designed to be taken in certain ways, for example with food or at a specific time of day. If the person is on several medicines, it can become complicated and these requirements can be overlooked, possibly making the medicines ineffective.

Anyone involved in medicines can benefit from attending a course on the safe handling of medication, such as those provided by Tidal Training.

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What to do if doses are missed?

People who have memory problems, or who are ill, may easily forget to take their regular medicines. Some drugs can be dangerous if a double dose is taken, so you should know what to do if a dose is missed.

Compliance aids

An example is the Dosette box, which has compartments for days and times. These can be pre-filled, helping the person and their carer to know which medicines are due or have been taken.

Medication reviews

If the person is having difficulties such as side effects or struggling to take their medications, you can request a medication review from a pharmacist. This may be at the GP surgery or pharmacy and can help to lessen the burden of taking multiple medicines.

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